Not much is going right for Newcastle at the moment – a heartbreaking loss to the Dragons was their fourth straight, the injuries are piling up, Kalyn Ponga’s contract is the dominant line of questioning at every press conference, and they’ve got games against the Storm and the Eels to come in the next fortnight.
But David Klemmer has at least provided something for their fans to take pride in, following a full-time incident with Dragons centre Zac Lomax, regarding the latter’s conduct during the second half.
As his teammates ran in to celebrate a try, Lomax decided to get Newcastle back-rower Tyson Frizell in on the excitement, leaping off the ground and unexpectedly jumping onto Frizell’s back, riding his opponent.
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This bizarre moment incensed the Knights, with Frizell throwing Lomax to the ground before Nine commentator Phil Gould said that if you’d done that in the 80s “you’d be going home in a body bag.”
Lomax tried to play the incident off as “friendly banter”, insisting that he was just trying to put Frizell off his game – and on Monday, he was hit with a contrary conduct charge and fined $1000.
After full time, Klemmer made a beeline towards Lomax and laid down the law as the Dragons centre looked like he’d rather be anywhere else – which was met with praise from the Knights faithful after a tough month.
It’s no secret that the Knights are struggling at the moment – after two wins to start the season, they would have been targeting Sunday’s game as a chance to get back on track after three heavy defeats to Penrith, Cronulla, and Manly.
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It’s difficult to speculate on how teams will respond after incidents like this, but players are always looking for moments of adversity as inspiration – and Klemmer’s actions, as well as Frizell’s initial response, could serve them well in the weeks to come – particularly in those next two, very challenging games.
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“No doubt we need a result, that’s the obvious,” Adam O’Brien said afterwards.
“But we have to fight our way out – we have to continually turn up every day with the attitude that we had this week.”
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